Can God be removed from society? This is a post that has been on my mind and heart for a while. I taught in a public school setting for twelve years. For the twelve years I was teaching, people would warn me...don't pray out loud...don't refer to God in your teaching...don't let them know you are a follower of Christ. Preachers stand in the pulpit and preach about how God is being taken out of this country. Older people lament about how it is so different than it was when they growing up and to tell you the truth, there are some differences. There are people who would like to remove God from this life. I am not foolish enough the think otherwise. I do, however, have a different perspective about this than others. I think there are a lot of people, preachers included, who do not realize what a omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God we serve. I think as long as there are followers of Christ who are willing to be a vessel, He will always be where He is needed.
This is where this blog post gets tough for me. I have been back and forth about writing this blog and how to write it. I had decide not to write it but here I am...
When storms arise in a believers life, who do they typically turn to? Without hesitation, I answer God, their pastor, church, family, and friends. I fully believe that God uses others to help us when we are walking through these storms. Sometimes, He uses people you would least expect and chooses not to use those we most expect. If I have one source of bitterness through our journey with Eli, it would be with the preacher at the church we attend. I have attended this church since I was young and the pastor who was once there, never failed to shepherd his flock. I feel like that is part of the calling of a pastor...to minister to those in need. With a different pastor now it is not the same. Like I said, this is my one and only sources of bitterness and I have allowed it to fester somewhat. Let me just say that there is a distinct difference in a pastor and a church. My church family is amazing. The people in the church I attend are kind, giving, supportive, and so, so very the epitome of Christ likeness. The Lord has used my church family in an amazing way. Several of them came and just sat with Jamie and me at the hospital, came to our house, brought food, lent and ear or an encouraging word, offered advice, brought groceries...the list just goes on and on. From the beginning, my "pastor" was absent and unavailable for my family. Sure, he did his duty and left and cake on our front porch along with a phone message to let us know it was there. Then, he did attempt to visit with us at about 7:30 one evening, but I had my jammies on and stayed in my bedroom. The visit lasted about 5 minutes. And folks....that's pretty much it. The night Eli was born and died, he showed up at the hospital at around 9:00 or so and stayed (across the room) for about 15 very awkward and quiet minutes, said a literal three sentence and very insincere prayer, and left. The week after Eli died he and his family visited our house once again briefly to deliver food (which I am thankful for) and visit for another few minutes. I never once felt shepherded by this man and I'm pretty sure I can speak for Jamie that he did not either.
Here is where this post gets easier. Despite the lack of "pastoring" my family received during this time God provided in other places and ways. My uncle David, who is a pastor in another town, ministered to us and was there. He held Eli and loved him. It did not matter that it was just the body of a baby who was gone. He guided us through a process we were unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. He traveled from well over and hour and a half away and was there for us. He is who we chose to deliver the sermon and lead Eli's service. I am so thankful for him. My cousin Beverly...she has been there every step of the way. She did all of the music for Eli's service. She is still there... My family has been amazing, both on my side and Jamie's. There have just been so many people that God has used to minister to us.
Perhaps the most unusual group that God gave us was my work. I have blogged before about the prayer warriors that I worked with. These people, this group of people are what gives me peace that God will never be removed from public school or any other public place where He wants to be. Folks, I worked at a public school, the one place where people say that God has been removed, and these people, this place, ministered to me more than my own pastor. God has the power to use ALL sorts of people and places to do His work.
All of these people were not fundamental, independent Baptist, like the church I attend. We are not all the same gender, race, or political party. The common thread we share is that we are followers of Christ. God took that common thread and wove a fabric that was tightly knit. I think if we allow Him to do this in any situation He will. It is just a matter of trusting that He will. I never once doubted that God would provide for our needs spiritually after Eli's diagnosis and death. When I think about the people that I worked with, it really does not surprise me that He chose to use them. You know, not only did He use the people I was currently working with, He also used people I had taught with at my previous school.
God is huge! He can and will be where He wants to be. Trust and have faith that the God we serve is able!